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Poster: light into ashes Date: Jul 22, 2011 1:15pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: improv style, jazz vs. classical, drama

There are many Playin's from the early '80s where I feel the same way - they pitter along for a while and go nowhere; Jerry just spits out flurries of notes with zero variety and eventually they just stop for drums...
While I don't hear the more varied jams of the early '70s as a "story," I do like the contrasts between sections. Or heck, at that point they're playing so well I don't even need contrasts - a lot of the great Playin' jams of '72/73 aren't really full of variety!

I would take it as a given that there aren't many internal contrasts in pop music...considering that pop music is mainly short songs! There are some exceptions....I guess I'd cite the Beatles (as in so many other ways) as being the best example in this regard, because they worked on different kinds of contrasts - there's the thematic Abbey Road medley that was mentioned; then there's the contrast between songs (as on the White Album) where each song seems to be by a different band; then, mainly in some of Lennon's songs, there's the 'section' song where each part is done in a different style.

I'd agree with snow&rain that most GD fans probably listen more to rock (or country) than jazz, by a wide margin.
It's funny that you cite film music as a 'home' for the symphonic style - since I generally loathe film music. And, though you might not guess it from my posts, I don't listen to much jazz either - I have much more of a pop/folk sensibility! The kind of thing that excites me would be something like this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=il2xXRSJLmc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApwS4L8exYo

This post was modified by light into ashes on 2011-07-22 20:15:55

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Poster: bkidwell Date: Jul 22, 2011 1:56pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: improv style, jazz vs. classical, drama

I don't think film scores have much value as independent works of art, but I do think it is significant that the devices of musical rhetoric created by 19th century symphonic composers are still very much in use in that context. I was mostly using that example to give readers who don't listen to symphonies a reference for what I meant by drama and contrast and a narrative sense in music.

I agree completely about the Beatles - I think I posted before saying that the Beatles were the other great rock group which I hear as incorporating a lot of elements which overlap with classical music. Something like "A Day in the Life" diverges wildly from standard rock templates in both structure and sound.

I think I misstated what I meant about jazz and other genres. I should have said "outside of the GD and other classic rock" because I certainly agree that GD listeners are more likely to listen to Dylan and Hendrix and Cream than anything else. I hope my incessant focus on classical music doesn't make people think I don't listen to or fail to appreciate other rock.

Nice links LIA btw, I'm also a huge fan of that kind of raw traditional folk based music, not that I'm particularly expert on it. I'm not sure I've ever seen you comment much on Garcia/Grisman collaborations, which I think are Jerry's finest non-GD work to my taste. Thoughts?

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Jul 22, 2011 7:43pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: improv style, jazz vs. classical, drama

True, I haven't commented on Garcia/Grisman... Nice, smooth, easy-listening music!

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Poster: bkidwell Date: Jul 22, 2011 11:36pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: improv style, jazz vs. classical, drama

Not sure if I'm reading you right, it sounds like you don't like Shady Grove, the Pizza Tapes, etc? Maybe I'm not understanding your intended meaning, it sounds like you are trying to say those recordings aren't interesting?

I feel like I must be confused, because I can't really imagine how you could like traditional acoustic music and Jerry Garcia and not love the recordings with Grisman, the music making is just so direct and joyful and natural.

You certainly don't have to explain or justify your tastes to me, I just admire your writing about the band and I'm always impressed by how accurately you hear. Regardless of any differences in taste, your comments on what the music sounds like and what it relates to are invariably well-founded. I'm really curious what you hear that is "wrong" with recordings like the Pizza Tapes and Shady Grove.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Jul 23, 2011 9:11am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: improv style, jazz vs. classical, drama

You might be reading too much into it! Shady Grove, the Pizza Tapes, the live shows etc are perfectly pleasant, relaxed, laid-back music - much like a Garcia acoustic show, but with a mandolin and more old-time & jazzy tunes thrown in. It sounds like two old men on a porch, reminiscing through the songs of the past.
It also completely lacks the fire & intrigue of a Dead show. I feel about Garcia/Grisman vs. the Dead the way you might feel about the JGB vs. the Dead. (Or to put it another way, "Where's the drama?")
Of course, it's a different genre - maybe a better comparison would be with acoustic Dead, like on Reckoning. Garcia/Grisman compares to that pretty well. There is a lot of charm in the Aged Garcia singing these songs, and nothing wrong with the music. But for my preference in this style, I prefer more authentic old-time stringbands, or the drive of classic bluegrass. In terms of traditional music, it's like Old & in the Way vs. Bill Monroe's boys....
It may sound like I'm damning Garcia/Grisman with faint praise, but I really don't listen to it that much! Garcia's take on traditional folk music is very mellow & straightforward, but for me just lacks the mysterious pull other folk musicians have.

While we're on this style, here are some examples of an alternate Jerryverse - Young Garcia, with Sara and with the Wildwood Boys:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CTJYqyvWmI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNZTFBoyijs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgjH6IOUzPg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGzwlgeel5w
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFE0X27zEW8

This post was modified by light into ashes on 2011-07-23 16:11:20

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Poster: bkidwell Date: Jul 23, 2011 12:04pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: improv style, jazz vs. classical, drama

Thanks for the answer, you're right, I was reading too much into it. The "good friends making music together" aspect is really appreciated by me, but I agree there are a lot more exciting and dynamic traditional groups, the Garcia/Grisman approach is relaxed and nostalgic.

Those Sara and Jerry recordings are very cool, I first heard them a long time ago, in some show parking lot (assuming those youtube links are derived from the same source) but never had a copy of the tape. Nice to hear them again, thanks.

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